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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 19, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hynes Athletic Center (2,611) -- New Rochelle, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Siena 5-2, Iona 5-2. Away Record: Siena 2-6, Iona 3-6. Neutral Record: Siena 0-3, Iona 0-0. Conference Record: Siena 3-4, Iona 5-2. Series Record: Iona leads, 54-47.
GAME NOTES: The Iona Gaels will continue their season-long three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon, as they welcome the Siena Saint to the Hynes Athletic Center for a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bout.
Siena had been winners of four of its previous five games prior to its current two-game slide, with its most recent setback coming at Manhattan on Thursday night by a convincing 90-68 margin. The Saints are now 7-11 overall and 3-4 in the MAAC.
Iona has had an up-and-down campaign overall, splitting its 16 games right down the middle, but it has improved its play during conference action (5-2). However, the Gaels are also coming off a loss, falling to Canisius on Friday night (85-83) for just their second setback in seven games at the Hynes Athletic Center.
These teams squared off last Sunday in Albany, with Iona escaping with an 87-78 triumph. The Gaels hold a 54-47 advantage in the all-time series, winning six of the last seven meetings.
The Saints went into intermission of their most recent game trailing by nine at Manhattan and never threatened the lead in the second half on their way to a disappointing 22-point defeat. They shot a modest 43.6 percent from the field but made only two 3-pointers, were outscored at the free-throw line (32-18) and lost several possessions thanks to an unseemly 23 turnovers. Rob Poole paced the losing effort with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Ryan Oliver and Marquis Wright netted 11 points apiece and Brett Bisping added 10 points.
Siena has struggled putting points on the board all season, shooting less than 43 percent from the field for 69.4 ppg, 3.9 ppg fewer than it allows, and its lackluster turnover margin (-3.1) has been its Achilles' Heel. Poole brings 15.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg to the table, doing a large chuck of his damage from beyond the arc (34-of-88). Evan Hymes (10.2 ppg) is the only other player netting double figures, although Lavon Long (8.7 ppg) and Bisping (8.7 rpg, 6.1 rpg) are also regular contributors.
The Gaels were locked up in a tight battle with Canisius on Friday, but with the game tied at 83 in the final minute, they fell victim to a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, and Sean Armand's 3-point attempt at the buzzer did not fall as they suffered the heartbreaking loss. Their .485 field goal percentage simply couldn't keep up with the Golden Griffins' (.516). Armand was just 2-of-9 from 3-point range but still finished with 19 points. A.J. English poured in 18 points, Isaiah Williams finished with 17 off the bench and Tre Bowman chipped in with 15.
Unlike Siena, Iona has scored points with ease this season, shooting 48 percent from the field for 82.8 ppg, but its high-octane style has left it vulnerable on the defensive end of the court, allowing 80.6 ppg on 47.3 percent shooting. Its 3-pointers per game (10.8) and 3-point percentage (.417) both rank in the top-6 nationally, with Armand (19.1 ppg) and English (18.2 ppg) having drained 49 long-range buckets apiece. Bowman (13.1 ppg) has also been success from long distance (30-of-79), while David Laury acts as an anchor down low with 12.5 ppg and 7.3 rpg.
Iona proved last week that it has Siena's number, and the advantage should only be stronger in this matchup on its home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 86, Siena 72
01/19 10:17:12 ET
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